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What does it mean to be alive?

Discussion in 'Mind, Body & Spirit' started by olmate, May 28, 2011.

  1. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Is it our awareness of being? Is it the intensification of that awareness to include the awareness of being of others - perhaps expanding to an awareness of all creation - perhaps further expanding to an awareness of the being of God?

    Or perhaps is being alive an awareness of Love? Or perhaps an awareness of loving and being loved?

    What's your take?

    Olmate
     
  2. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    Hi Olmate,

    A difficult one, simply because of the vast array of levels that life is for different people, it will be interesting to see the varied responses from the great cross section we have on the forum. :)

    ___

    Being alive is seeing there is no centre. Being truly alive reveals that, in the place where you thought there was a separate self in control of life and living in time, there is only space. And that space is not at all separate from what appears within the space. In this realisation, the entire world is seen to be completely alive, to be intimacy itself. Pure love recognizing itself in each moment.

    But we have to be wary of being spiritually identified with the notion that we are space or the idea that we are emptiness, as it is still just a concept. Silence and non-conceptualisation are still just passing states. To cling to any concept, even the concept that you are space is to miss the simple and beautiful fact that what you are is, absolutely nothing, appearing as absolutely everything.

    This is when the most seemingly ordinary chore of sweeping a floor feels totally free, as if the universe is recognizing itself for the first time with each sweep of the broom.

    Life is alive. You are that aliveness. :D


    Peace :)
     
  3. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    As ever, interesting dialogue from you two guys - thanks :)

    Fully agree

    I think this pretty much nails it, although I would differ slightly. For me being alive is in two parts experiencing outside your mind and experiencing there is no centre.

    Experiencing there is no centre:
    When I have played sport and get absorbed in it I fully experience now, as I would guess anyone would be when fully absorbed in any activity. Many of these people wouldn’t have read or experienced any of the teachings we have had access too (as I hadn’t up to a few years ago).

    If someone had said to that “a few years ago me”, did you know you have no centre? I would have probably looked confused and prodded my stomach to check it was still there :D. The “a few years ago me” would have still experienced being alive (many times in fact) as have many others, even though they have never seen/realised that there is no centre to them.

    Experiencing outside your mind:
    I’m sitting here feeling really tired with a really heavy energy/feeling and am being told by my mind I ‘should’ be doing various things. Whilst I know they need to be done I’m not anxious/worried or lost in thought about them, I just feel I will do them later and am sitting here doing this instead experiencing the tiredness and heaviness. Now whether I do these things later is another matter :rolleyes: :D, but for now I am experiencing being “out of my mind” at the moment (watching my mind at work), and it is a nice place to be :)

    Paul
     
  4. Hazelkay

    Hazelkay Member

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    being alive

    For me the being aliveness is when the leaves are fluttering me

    when the wind is flying me

    when there are no edges in my seeing

    when the stars seem so near, I can touch them

    when for no reason, there is that leap of joy

    with love:)

    peace and joy
     
  5. selfhypnosis

    selfhypnosis New Member

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    For me, having a purpose and mission in life keeps me alive and motivated.
     
  6. Michael David

    Michael David Member

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    An intriguing question. And I do not know. Although a few thoughts have surfaced.

    I first have to divide the question into what is life and how is live for me.

    From one view everything on this side of nothingness is life in varying forms. A tree is made up of a balance of dirt, water and sunlight. In the trees varying form dirt, water, roots, sap, pulp, branches, stems, leaves, sunlight and bark we think of parts of the tree as alive and its outside edge of bark as not alive. Where or when does the dirt go from being dirt to the aliveness of the tree? Where does the food we eat go from being dirt to the aliveness that we are?

    The seed of the great oak tree has the bluprint to change its form into a giant oak. Is the life in the seed or is life the conditions that allow the seed to change its form and grow. Life seems to be the growth, the movement the changing form. From the big bang or whatever the change from nothingness to form is, a continual evolution of consciousness is life as its form keeps changing.

    For me I seem most alive when a moment of mindfulness evolves into happiness and the clinking of glasses in a toast becomes a moving instant of the joy of life. L'chaim (To Life).

    Michael :)
     
  7. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Right off the bat... I will take one large bowl of what Hazelkay is having :). Great response!!

    Thanks too for all of the other responses. This topic has been exercising the mind for the last few days. Perhaps if I share some of the contexts...

    Firstly the mind went to those who are suffering. Living in physically difficult circumstances, the ill, those in physical or mental pain and torment. Is this living? I think yes.

    Then the mind went to those at the other end of the spectrum. Those in absolute bliss, nirvana, super Grace, etc. Is this living? I think yes.

    Then the mind went to the various spectrum in between. Is this living. I think yes.

    The mind canvassed living within the confines of this body and the infinity of beyond mind. It seems it is all living. Where we land in the broad spectrum may be as a result of choices made. Some of it may be as a result of the mystery of the web of life - that is, no apparent or obvious reason.

    So perhaps the issue more rightly comes down to no matter where we are on the spectrum, life is available each moment to each one of us. Obviously the quality of that life varies, but just the same it is there. I kind of am struggling with the idea that anything short of an enlightened state (for the want of a better term) is not living.

    Hmmm... what do you think?

    Olmate
     
  8. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    For me, to exist or live you simply need to physically be in the World, so as I see it everyone currently in the World exists and lives. But how many of those people are just focussed on and lost in the mind, not enjoying or fully experiencing life. Again this is a spectrum and different people will fall into a different area on that spectrum, with the fully ego identified at one end and those of the enlightened variety at the other.

    I can remember on my way to work I would sometimes grab a coffee and sit and look out over a river on a nice sunny morning, the sun warming my face and the breeze gently brushing past my face. I would just look at the light bouncing off the water ripples, watch some birds flying or just feel the breeze on my face and hands. All very nice :).

    I would also see others walking past on there way work very purposefully, obviously concerned about events in the past or in the future or possibly reflecting on how great or bad they are (or will be) due to these events. In this example, I am living/existing along with the other people going to work, but I am the only one who feels alive at that time, because at that moment in time I am not caught up in my little monkey mind (for once! :D)

    The same parallel can be drawn between someone who has every material thing they want but are stressed, don’t see there family, have to compete with everyone (including family) and although surrounded by hundreds of colleagues have no true friends. On the flip side you can have only a few pennies to rub together but have a twinkle in your eye and an approach to life that is simply priceless. Again for me, both people are existing/living, but only one is ‘alive’.

    In essence, and after all that writing, I think that it’s the level of attachment to your life circumstance that determines how alive you are. I think that being alive is being able to sit outside the mind and emotions and thus see the true reality of life outside the lenses of fear, self-interest and to some extent, time itself :eek: :D - which now I think about it, is simply living in the now.

    Paul
     
  9. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Good points Paul. I guess part of my musings is to be careful not to make something right or wrong. But the point that many have made about being alive with adjectives like rich, fully awake, etc. is important in terms of walking our chosen paths.

    So perhaps as you identify, glimpsing the now may be an important catalyst to starting the journey down the road to a fuller life.

    Nothing but the best...

    Olmate
     
  10. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    You know Paul, I both agree with you and disagree.

    I see how the businessman ignoring the beauty around him is a cramped up person, and yet, when he starts that presentation on which a million dollar deal is based, and he brings it across nicely, and he sells it, he too will feel very much alive. The butterflies in his stomach as he is walking to work, will they make him feel less alive ?

    With your example, you are bringing across a judgement on what you think is "good behaviour" and "bad behaviour".
    But the businessman is responding to the situation he is in, and doing it with purpose and concentration. And, he probably enjoys it, even the stress that comes with it. Instead of denying the full scope of life like you are doing, he is enjoying EVERY minute of it, not just the calm ones. If you feel at peace at a mountaintop, doesn't mean that you have to return to that mountaintop every time you want to feel calm, it means you have the ability to feel calm everywhere, it just becomes more prominent at that mountaintop.

    I hope I can bring across what I mean.
     
  11. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    Hi Edwin,

    Thanks for your thoughts :), although they have provoked a few questions within me........

    To steal a phrase, I both agree with you and disagree :p. If he was feeling the butterfly’s and was focussed on them then I agree he is in touch with the ‘now’. If though he was lost in thought, worrying about the fact that the presentation might go wrong and all the ramifications that might bring, then he would be surely jumping out the ‘now’ into the world of the mind and its projections?

    It’d seem I did get drawn into looking at things from a good/bad perspective – so thanks for pointing it out. Olmate’s subtle comment got me contemplating what I had written, but sometimes I need more than a gentle nudge for things to twig :D so your more explicit explanation helped me out.

    Possibly me being pedantic here but whilst I can see that he can be present for every minute isn’t it a bit of a push to say he could be enjoying every minute? Also, isn’t it a bit unfair to say that in the example I am denying the full scope of life? Just because I'm enjoying a nice sit down by a river doesn’t automatically mean that I am trying to avoid things or am not prepared to fully experience the less pleasant emotions/aspect of life.

    Nicely put, something for me to reflect on :).

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  12. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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  13. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Thanks Pollyanna,

    Your wonderful response reminded me of a slogan I sometimes use to self to calm the craziness ...

    "Standing on the edge of unknowing, open to Grace (except when I'm not).

    Nothing but the best...

    Olmate
     
  14. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    sorry about that ;)
    yes, this is true, but when is this happening ? also in the Now ! I meant to say, enlightenment doesn't mean that you never have to prepare anymore for something like the example I gave. And when preparing yourself for something in the future, your mind is not focussing on the Now... or is it ?
    Like you said, when you are fully engrossed in thoughts and worries, you aren't in the Now with your focus.
    I know, aint I a stinker :D. You got the picture, I am glad :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011
  15. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Again a wonderful post by Polly. I am always impressed with how you naturally seem to understand surrendering to the Universe, the Now, Love, Being.
     
  16. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    Yes Pollyanna knows how it all works. Forgive me Pollyanna but your posts remind me of my Grandfather...

    ...like many Grandfathers was a gardener, loved his shed, which had a porch. He would sit for hours looking at his veggies and flowers. My father, his brothers and sisters, and my grandmother all thought he was sleeping aided by the small hipflask of brandy. But as a small child I asked him, why are you sitting there. He replied,

    “See those plants, insects and soil, they are never still, for every second I sit here, a whole new world appears before me, forever changing.”

    We sat in silence for a while, he gently snored while I watched things change.

    Was he enlightened or just drunk who knows, but he had his own way.


    Peace :)
     
  17. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Hi Olmate, Edwin and Karmoh, thankyou for your kind messages, however, I cannot take credit because what I wrote was not through me thinking - it just came after I had been meditating :)

    I really enjoy reading all your posts but often don't know what to say, so I just read them :)

    I wish you all an abundance of peace and joy :) :) :)

    P.S. Nice to see you Karmoh :)
     
  18. Ramai

    Ramai Member

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    I few nights ago I was awoken suddenly at 3:24 am by a memory of what in hindsight I believe it was my first observation of human suffering. I was 6 years old and after my first day of school my mother took me to her work where she worked as a nurse at an orphanage for girls under 6.
    On our way I remember how excited I was, finally I was going to see the girls and play with them. I will never forget what happened next. When the dormitory door opened all I could see was what seemed like hundreds of cots filled with arms that were reaching out for me and a chorus of little voices calling (ME, a six year old) mama, mama, mama...A very sad and distressing experience.

    For the last few days I pondered why this memory surfaced, why now and what does it mean?

    It was probably my subconscious mind trying to answer two treads in one; this one and the alchemy of suffering.

    Evolutionary speaking, maybe suffering as our experience or observed was the “necessary evil” in order for our being - love and compassion- to sprout, grow and reconnect us. Maybe suffering was the sandpaper that polished the diamond and taught us how to connect with what we feel in our hearts. Many felt that oneness, that love, that language of the heart that has no judgement in meditation. Maybe to starve suffering into extinction is to create that feeling of love, give that love and change the unfolding of reality.
    And (maybe) since we are all connected if we make a change in ourselves we will see a change everywhere.

    So for me being alive is to be both an observer and a participant in the web of love (life).:)

    Love,
    Ramai
     
  19. Michael David

    Michael David Member

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    Hi Ramai
    What an intersting thought combining two threads and creating new experience around that. For me the http://www.project-meditation.org/community/meditation-chatter-box/7539-alchemy-suffering.html is more of a road map a path to follow to becoming more alive. Although all of life's moment by moment experiences both the ones we enjoy and the ones we wish would go away are filled with life, it appears that most of us prefer and identify being alive with the experiences we really feel ecstatic about.

    I really feel alive when I am in the process of reaching for my edge. Whether it is practicing my golf swing on the practice range with the freedom to experiment or composing a post for this community with the sense of the edge of my insight coming to the surface.

    You have sparked a creative path for me. Combining two threads and contemplating their interation into a new thread, an expanded edge beyond my current awareness. What life, what aliveness I feel in the exploration of that edge!:D

    Combining two routine things to make a third, something different. Like the hot dog and the bun. Or peanut butter and jelly. With all respect to Giles I feel peanut butter and jelly in a sandwich is not the same as each one alone eaten separately and not combined until it is in your stomach. The sense contacts of taste and texture and aroma are acting to the combination of peanut butter and jelly as one substance rather than to each separately.

    Holding two threads in mind at the same time would seem to spark a response to their combination rather than to an individual concept. Hence a new thought, concept, feeling may emerge.

    Ramai you wrote:

    It was probably my subconscious mind trying to answer two treads in one; this one and the alchemy of suffering.

    Evolutionary speaking, maybe suffering as our experience or observed was the “necessary evil” in order for our being - love and compassion- to sprout, grow and reconnect us. Maybe suffering was the sandpaper that polished the diamond and taught us how to connect with what we feel in our hearts. Many felt that oneness, that love, that language of the heart that has no judgement in meditation. Maybe to starve suffering into extinction is to create that feeling of love, give that love and change the unfolding of reality.
    And (maybe) since we are all connected if we make a change in ourselves we will see a change everywhere.


    Yes, I certainly agree that if we can make a change in our own awareness we will see a change everywhere. I am not sure that starving suffering into extinction or thinking of it as sandpaper is the way to view suffering. I feel that the resistance we have to what is happening (which we experience as suffering) can be a clue to the edge of our comfort zone and by exploring into the edge of the sufferering and allowing it to disolve there is an uncovering of the natural aliveness that this thread is all about.

    Michael:)
     
  20. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Hi Ramai,

    Suffering is an interesting topic and clearly a part of life and living. On the path I have chosen some of the teachings point to the importance of suffering. I know this sounds weird. But upon reflection, some of my personal experiences around growth and learning have come as a result of suffering. Interestingly at no stage was the suffering beyond my ability to bear - not that I necessarily thought that at the time. So in one sense, the suffering for me was in fact a blessing.

    Nothing but the best...

    Olmate
     

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